A qualitative study was conducted to explore the motivations of individuals, who advocate politically for members of social outgroups. Long interviews with social activists focused on self-ascribed motivations for activism, relationship with the outgroup, and the costs and benefits associated with being an outgroup activist. A thematic analysis revealed that feelings of social responsibility were shared by the activists, who were interviewed. Further, some activists attributed their behavior to their personal relationships, while others believed they had a psychological predisposition to engage in social justice. Experiences of personal marginality were also highlighted as a key contributor to social justice efforts. The respondents emphasized the importance of a fundamental, shared human connection between themselves and members of outgroups, suggesting that universalism may be importantly implicated in forging bonds across social identities. Finally, participants tendency to explicitly describe their social justice work according to cost-benefit analyses may signal a desire for recognition or reward for their efforts in light of perceived personal costs.


Social Activism, Intergroup Relations, and Universalism

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